DAVIDSON Bicycles are the favored mode of people-powered transportation in the town of Davidson, but some other forms aren’t covered by town ordinances.That’s something Davidson police Chief Jeanne Miller would like to change. She doesn’t necessarily want to keep them off the streets and sidewalks, but she wants to make sure riders stay safe.“When you’ve got people on skateboards sharing the same pavement as a 2,500- to 3,000-pound vehicle, if they come in contact with the vehicle, they lose. It’s just the law of physics,” Miller said. “So we’re looking at ordinance language to see how we can make things safer.”The subject of skateboarders and other wheeled vehicles came up during the town’s periodic review of its ordinances by Miller, assistant town manager Dawn Blobaum and town attorney Cindy Reid.Miller said the number of skateboarders and others using wheeled transportation on the streets and sidewalks of Davidson has been growing the past several years. Recent incidents, however, prompted her to bring up the issue during one of the review sessions, and to make a presentation to the Davidson Board of Commissioners during its July 8 meeting.“The only thing that’s addressed in our ordinances is bicycles,” Miller said. “Nowadays, you’ve got the gamut of wheeled forms of transportation that you didn’t have in the 1960s: roller skates, inline skates, scooters, things like that.“Right now, the state statutes say that a person on a bicycle are a vehicle, but we don’t have that language for somebody on a skateboard. So if you’re walking down the sidewalk and somebody comes whooshing by you on a skateboard, in that instance the pedestrian loses, because (the skateboarder) is moving at a higher speed. Those are just some of our concerns.”The latest incident came on May 24, when 16-year-old Mason Stewart was hit by a car while he was riding his skateboard across Davidson-Concord Road at Robert Walker Drive, near the entrance to the River Run subdivision.Mason, a rising 11th-grader at Hough High School, had to be airlifted to a trauma center for treatment of his injuries.“When that accident occured, that’s when we decided to bump this (proposed ordinance) up on the review list,” Miller said.Miller has been studying ordinances from towns and cities both in North Carolina and across the United States, looking for the right wording for an ordinance that would fit within Davidson’s plans to become more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. She hopes to have something town commissioners can look at and debate by the end of the year.Before then, Miller wants to talk with skateboarders to get their feedback.“We want to meet with the skateboarders, and some of the neighbors in the areas that are most popular with them,” Miller said. “The kids aren’t from most of those neighborhoods. They’re coming from all over, and being brought there by their parents.”
Friday, Jul. 26, 2013
Davidson considers regulating skateboards
Tell us your ideas Do you skateboard on the sidewalks and streets of Davidson? Do you live in a Davidson neighborhood that skateboarders use? We’d like to talk with you. Email Bill Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @BKiser_CLTObs
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less